Deck Check Before You Buy a Home

Real Estate Agent with Buyer's Edge Company Inc

There are thousands of decks on homes in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. 

and many are rotten, wobbly & dangerous

rotten post

This is a picture of a deck post. As you can see, the post is rotten. In fact, all of the support posts for this deck were in varying stages of decay. The house had been flipped and the Flipper put new wood on the top of the deck but left the old posts and support structure underneath the decking. 

Thanks to a very good home inspector, I now know what to look out for when touring a home with a deck.

As Realtors, it's our job to look for what is right and what is wrong with every property. We aren't home inspector but we should use our experience & knowledge to protect our clients best interest. It is in our clients best interest to know if a home they may buy has a rotten deck.We've all seen the headlines, 


"Deck (porch or balcony) Collapses and Kills..."


and the real tragedy is that it's preventable. The International Code Council  offers guidelines on deck construction. The ICC website has a deck fastening and connection guide. If you're having a deck built, be sure the deck company is fully licensed.


If you're buying a home with a deck, look for the following deck problems: 


  • Split or rotting wood, especially at the base of the posts. Posts should be on concrete or stone pads. 
  • Loose or missing screws, nails or anchors, particularly where the deck attaches to the house.
  • Missing or rotted support beams
  • Bolts attaching the deck to the house should be screws not nails.
  • Wobbly handrails and decks with too much give
  • Standing under the deck and next to the house, look up to see if there is a gap between the deck and house. 

Finally, according to, a thru-bolt offers great support. The bolt is inserted into a drilled hole and fitted with a nut on the other side. A washer on both sides spreads the pulling force over a larger portion of the beam. These bolts are large and attach the deck to the house. A home inspector should be able to identify these bolts.

For more information:

North American Deck and Railing Association 

This Old House

International Code Council deck guide


Buyers Edge

National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents





Posted by

4849 Rugby Avenue Bethesda Maryland 20814 office 301.657.1475 cell 301.922.1677


Victoria Henderson is Vice President & Associate Broker with Buyer's Edge, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Realtor in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC. Victoria is a certified Military Relocation Professional 



Marshall Henderson is a Certified Negotiation Expert & Exclusive Buyer Agent with Buyer's Edge & Realtor in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC

Certified Negotiation Expert


Members of National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents

Not Just a Buyer's Agent, an Exclusive Buyer's Agent. There's a Difference. Learn more at: &


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Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

The house sells better with the rot deck removed. In most of the homes I stick my finger in both sides of the garage frame showing to sellers that the water has eaten their vertical frames. Section 1 defect by wood infestigation folks....

Apr 03, 2016 09:32 AM #1
Victoria Ray Henderson
Buyer's Edge Company Inc - Bethesda, MD
Real Estate for Home Buyers with Buyer's Edge

Good work Sam Shueh! Rotten decks are a serious issue. May is deck safety month and I hope people who own homes with decks or buying a home with a wooden deck-learn what to look for and how to maintain a deck.

Thanks for stopping by!

Apr 04, 2016 11:11 PM #2
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Victoria Ray Henderson

Real Estate for Home Buyers with Buyer's Edge
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